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Izet Sarajlic' - 1997

Izet Sarajlic’ is one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He spent most of his life in Sarajevo, remaining also during the siege of the city: he stayed there until the end. He could leave the town but did not. He was the “voice of Sarajevo” and never ceased to write, though wondering if this might be useful anyway, after what had happened. He could do nothing else. The Fondazione Mediterraneo published “Il Libro degli Addii” (the Book of Farewells) and on the first copy, near to a drawing of a flower dedicated to Rita Allamprese Capasso. Izet wrote a single word: “Thanks”. By this Award we want to remember and thank a great poet for his teaching and his work, a man who showed us that literature in itself would not be enough. We should rather promote peace and mutual respect through positive actions.

Awarding Ceremony
Trieste, 25 January 1997

Abdulah Sidran - 1996

Sidran’s poetry has always dealt with strong concrete themes and with civic anxieties, giving rise to very effective representations of real life during the years of Sarajevo siege (1992 1995). In a situation of real and extreme danger for his city, its inhabitants and himself, Sidran went on working, loyal to Sarajevo and to its ancient habit to accept different religions, cultures, writings, traditions and languages.Sarajevo, a cosmopolitan city, a place where differences meet and are re-elaborated, is the heart of Sidran’s poetry. The secret of this town and of this poetry lies in the “endless tolerance” mentioned by Sidran in his writings.

Awarding Ceremony
Trieste, 20 January 1996